Interview: Craig Newmark on Craigslist's Community, Transparency, and Controversies


craignewmark_socialnerdiaCraig Newmark founded Craigslist as a hobby in 1995. The site is one of the most popular destinations on the Internet and Craig's way of seeing things is still much part of how the web company operates.

Craig was very kind to answer our questions about his current role at Craigslist, lessons learned from past work experiences, controversies, customer service, design, and more.

Please check out his very interesting blog and follow him on Twitter.

1. Every month, Craigslist gets 20 billion page views, 40 million new classified ads, and 50 million people looking to buy stuff, meet others, and get a job. What would you have done differently from 1995 to 1999, if you had known what your hobby was going to become?

I wouldn't have done anything differently overall, but would have listened more to the lawyers and my own instincts.

2. In what ways (positive and negative) did your previous professional experiences help shape the culture of Craigslist?

I learned how important customer service is, and how largeness in organizations leads to dysfunction. For example, in a hierarchy, you get ahead by telling your boss what he or she wants to hear; then he or she tells his or her boss what they want to hear.

3. Craigslist is largely based on trust. Do you often wake up and wonder how your site continues to deliver what it offers despite the controversies and criticisms?

Not a problem, unfair controversies and criticisms just strengthen us, and increase community support and traffic.

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